Server-Side Tracking vs Client-Side Tracking Explained

Understanding the nuances between server-side and client-side tracking is essential for making informed decisions on data collection, user privacy, and overall strategy for even a Cookieless future.

Richard J.
14/12/2023 10:15 AM

Due to the deprecation of third-party cookies and challenges in client-side tracking, the digital analytics and marketing landscape is rapidly evolving toward server-side tracking. Understanding the nuances between server-side and client-side tracking is essential for making informed decisions on data collection, user privacy, and overall strategy for even a Cookieless future.

Table Of Contents:

  1. What is Client-Side Tracking?
  2. Advantages of Client-Side Tracking
  3. Challenges of Client-Side Tracking
  4. What is Server-Side Tracking?
  5. Advantages of Server-Side Tracking
  6. Challenges of Server-Side Tracking
  7. Tackling challenges of Server-Side Tracking
  8. Conclusion

1. What is Client-Side Tracking?

Client-side tracking, often called browser-side tracking, involves collecting and sending data about user interactions directly from the user's browser. This method relies on JavaScript tags or pixels embedded in web pages, which execute when a user visits a site. The script collects data such as page views, clicks, form submissions, and more, then sends this information to analytics platforms like Google Analytics

2. Advantages of Client-Side Tracking

Ease of Implementation: Client-side tracking can be easily implemented with the help of tag management systems, making it accessible even for those with limited technical expertise.

Rich Data Collection It allows for collecting rich, detailed data about user behavior and interactions directly from the user's perspective.

Real-Time Data: This method collects almost real-time data, enabling quick analysis and decision-making.

3. Challenges of Client-Side Tracking

Browser Limitations: Client-side tracking is susceptible to ad blockers and browser restrictions on cookies, potentially leading to incomplete data. Google plans to phase out Chrome users' cookies by Q3 2024.

Performance Impact: Executing JavaScript can slow page load times, affecting user experience and SEO.

Privacy Concerns: With increasing privacy regulations, relying solely on client-side tracking may pose compliance challenges.

4. What is Server-Side Tracking?

Server-side tracking involves sending data from your server to an analytics server rather than relying on the client's browser. This method captures interactions that occur on the server, such as form submissions or API calls, and sends this data to your analytics tools. Server-side tracking is implemented through backend programming, requiring server access and technical knowledge. However, with Tracklution it is simple.

5. Advantages of Server-Side Tracking

Improved Data Privacy: Server-side tracking offers better control over data, helping with compliance with privacy laws like GDPR and CCPA.

Reduced Browser Load: Shifting data collection to the server minimizes the impact on page load times and user experience.

Bypassing Tracking Limitations: Since data is collected and processed server-side, it's less likely to be blocked by ad blockers and tracking limitations set by devices and browsers, ensuring more complete and accurate data collection.

6. Challenges of Server-Side Tracking

Implementation Complexity: Setting up server-side tracking requires more technical expertise and access to server infrastructure.

Increased Server Load: It can increase the load on your servers, requiring careful consideration of server resources and scalability.

7. Tackling challenges of Server-Side Tracking

You can outsource setting up Server-Side tracking; however, it is costly, needs to be done for each advertising platform, and requires constant updates.

Tracklution was created with the thought, ‘No tech needed.’ Your server-side tracking is running in 5-10 minutes instead of months. Simple step-by-step documentation ensures that even a less technical person can do the installation.

Tracklution also takes care of the server load, so you don't need to worry about it.

8. Conclusion

The shift towards server-side tracking in response to the decline of third-party cookies and client-side limitations underscores the need for adaptable, privacy-focused data collection strategies. While server-side tracking historically required significant technical investment and server setup, solutions like Tracklution are changing the landscape.

With Tracklution, you set up server-side tracking in 5 minutes. Join hundreds of thriving companies already using Tracklution to drive their marketing success!


Richard J.

Advancing from Digital Marketer to Conversion Specialist, one blog post at a time!

Tracklutioner since July 1, 2023


Server-Side Tracking, First-Party Cookies and Conversion APIs for any website with easy installation. Simple yet powerful tracking tool for digital advertising.


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